How to Make Foam Rubber at Home

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Foam rubber can be shaped into just about anything.
Foam rubber can be shaped into just about anything. (Image: pink foam image by laurent dambies from Fotolia.com)

Foam latex is a type of rubber made from a number of components that are whipped with air into a light, frothy substance. It is then poured into a mold or in flat sheets and baked to a finished form. Foam latex is used in a variety of fields, from makeup to costuming to puppetry. The material is very sensitive to a number of factors including temperature, humidity and ammonia content. Foam rubber can be made at home. Don't get discouraged if it does not turn out right the first time; it may take a few tries.

Things You'll Need

  • Foam latex base
  • Foaming agent
  • Curing agent
  • Gelling agent
  • Scale
  • Small cup
  • Mold release
  • Electric mixer
  • Paintbrush
  • Mold or baking sheet
  • Mold straps (optional)
  • Oven

Brush foam latex mold release into the mold or baking sheet being used. The baking sheet is for flat sheets of foam rather than a specific shape, for which a mold is used.

Allow the mold release to dry and buff off any excess buildup.

Pour one-third of a pound of latex base into a mixing bowl, followed by 1 ounce of foaming agent and a half ounce of curing agent.

Measure a half ounce of gelling agent in a separate cup.

Mix the foam at the following speeds: one for 1 minute; then 10 for 4 minutes; then four for 1 minute; and finally one again for 4 minutes. These speeds and times are specifically for a KitchenAid mixer. For other brands, see the references.

Slowly add the gelling agent after 10 minutes. Drizzle it in over the course of 30 seconds; do not dump it in.

Allow the foam to mix for one more minute.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and brush or pour the foam into the mold or baking sheet. Close the mold and strap it together if it has more than one piece.

Put the mold or baking sheet in the oven when the foam has gelled. If you can poke the foam with your finger without it sticking to the foam, the foam has gelled.

Bake the foam at 180 degrees F for 2 to 3 hours for small molds and baking sheets, 3 to 4 hours for large molds.

Tips & Warnings

  • Ideally foam latex should be made under room conditions of 69 to 72 degrees F and 45 to 55 percent humidity.
  • Foam latex releases heavy sulfur fumes as it bakes. Do not bake it in your kitchen oven; the odor will affect the taste of food subsequently baked in the oven.

References

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